Life Style

Housing, “a space to be well with others”

La Croix: What is the impact of confinement on the development of housing?

Monique Eleb: He highlighted the cramped nature of most of the accommodation. More than 50% of the apartments are too small. Gold, to live is to learn not to bump into each other ”, as Georges Perec wrote.

In this regard, the presence of men in the home has been, in my opinion, a factor in the transformation of housing that we have not talked about enough. They noticed how little space is available to do housework, in the kitchen or in the bathroom. I think that this partly explains the DIY fever of the French and the renewal of the furniture observed during the deconfinement.

→ LARGE FORMAT. Containment: my building works remotely

Finally, the confinement underlined the fundamental importance of the “interiorized exterior”: having a balcony, a loggia makes a big difference. The madmen of hygiene in the early twentieth centurye century, as Henri Sauvage and his tiered buildings intended to promote sunlight and ventilation, understood it well.

How to best organize the accommodation of a family, knowing that 41% of them do not have a room per child?

ME: You can find all kinds of organizations. When the Internet emerged, we thought we would no longer need an office. Then appeared tables on casters to be able to easily move the workspace. We must also listen to children, whose needs and desires vary greatly with age. They endlessly switch from the pleasure of having an enclosed space to open rooms.

What about the couple?

ME: We work at home because we work on ourselves. You build your identity there, you choose your corner, your point of view, your objects. You have to have a place to be alone to be good with others. I have carried out thousands of sociological interviews with the inhabitants. They all showed me their corner. They felt good there and liked what they saw. When space is scarce, it is time to prioritize: times when you can be alone by closing the door.

→ READ. Confinement, “an opportunity to relearn how to be a family”

Does improving well-being in the home go through evolving pieces, as some young architects propose?

ME: This is nothing new. Henri Sauvage, again, built a building with neutral rooms at the beginning of the last century. I find more attractive the solution of removable partitions which would make it possible to transform the organization of a home during the day, to enlarge certain rooms during the day, for example. But such separations are expensive if we want them to isolate well from noise.

Should we set up third places in collective spaces?

ME: I work with project owners in this sense because I think it’s ideal to have a room in the building that we share for work, for example. Cohabitation spaces are also beginning to develop in certain buildings, where families, couples and elderly people come together in good harmony.


Poll and opinion poll

“At the edge of housing” : The Institute of Higher Studies for Action in Housing (Idheal) collected, from March 25 to May 5, 2020, 8,000 responses to its questionnaire on how everyone had experienced confinement in their home. 11% of respondents consider that their accommodation made the period difficult. Among them, 92% live in apartments. “Nonumber of answers evoke the narrowness of the rooms, the lack of light, the need or the desire to push the walls, to go out, while staying at home, on your balcony, on your terrace or in your garden », Analyzes Catherine Sabbah, general delegate of Idheal.

The effect of the “great” confinement on the daily life and well-being of the French: survey conducted from March 23 to July 17 by Lise Bourdeau-Lepage, professor of geography at Lyon 3, who gathered the responses of 13,200 people to a questionnaire seeking to know how the French had experienced confinement. It emerges in particular that the occupants of apartments without sight and those most exposed to noise pollution are the least likely to have felt safe.


Leroy Merlin lists the latest publications on housing issues on a site, drawing on the research network initiated in 2005 by the DIY brand.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *